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Where to fly into Europe

I am wanting to plan a trip to Europe within the next 5 years for me and my wife. We have never been. I am wondering where is the best, or maybe most economical places to fly into because that is our biggest hurdle right now is the cost of the flight, which I know will only go up in the years to come. We are definately looking at seeing Paris foremost, the French countryside, alps, northern Italy, and perhaps Switzerland. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks.

Posted by
769 posts

Some friends mention they now always fly from US into Dublin or Shannon (Ireland) with AreLingus from where you can then take local economy flights over to the continent (ryan air etc). I myself try to use the same carrier (Lufthansa or Swiss) and go in to Munich/Frankfurt/Swiss since I have their miles club. Since you have 2-5 years - Id recommened you find a big carrier and get their miles program going (Credit card whatever). Then just book your free flights 11-10 months in advance to get those high-season seats! Or - travel in winter for 1/3 or less!

Posted by
10 posts

When I noticed you are from Chicago, I thought I would reply, because I have just booked a long awaited trip for our family of four, also going through Chicago. The airfares really did give me sticker shock. I remembered reading another post about inexpensive airfares within Europe, and so decided to find the most reasonable European city to fly into, that we tought we would enjoy. In terms of our tour itinerary, with a Rick Steve's family tour, the most efficient would have been to fly into Milan and out of Paris, but I found it would be cheaper to fly into Edinburgh. Surprisingly, fares to Edinburgh were actually cheaper than into London, even for flight that went trrough London, which makes no sense. So we are adding a couple of day in Scotland, which will cancel out our savings, of course, but will be money better spent, I think, than on more expensive airfares. The best fares we found, just recently, were with United, but that may change. Good luck with your trip planning!

Posted by
1158 posts

The cheapest is in winter, but you might not want to fly then.
Last year I found a good deal in march, end of March I think, Cleveland to Paris for less the $500.
I think if you start your trip at the begining of march, you will get great deals.
If you fly to an European city that's closer to the US then take a cheap flight from there going East in Europe, you don't neccessary save a lot of money.
It's not much difference for exemple flying from NYC to Paris or NYC to Rome. You actually save money because you won't pay the security fee again that every airport charges.
I flew from NYC to Bucharest last September, with a stop in Rome, for about $700.The airfare from NYC to Rome would have been just about $30 less then NYC to BUH.
I used to book my flights thru, but now I found better deals dirrectly on Delta web site. Another good webby for comparing fares is Just discovered this site last month.

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Joshua. During the past six years, some of the lowest cost flights from Chicago to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean have been to Dublin in Ireland, and to Frankfurt in Germany. And Northwest Airlines had low priced tickets for flying from Detroit to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is not very far from Paris. I do not know what the prices for airline tickets will be in future years. But you have good luck : you are at Chicago. The O Hare airport has airplanes flying directly to airports in Europe. Some people residing at other locations in the U.S.A. must fly in three airplanes to go to Europe. That causes the trip to be more expensive.

Posted by
1158 posts

Yes Sam, you are right.It should have been

Posted by
248 posts

Since you have a 5 year window - play with it. Assuming Chicago is your gateway, check air routes of major airlines. Pretend you were leaving within 6 months - which flights would you book? Compile a list. Then if a great airfare comes available, you can jump on it.
Although we're on a tight budget as well, length of the flight is equally important to me. I was amazed to find that the flight from Atlanta to Barcelona is almost as long as ATL to Milan - my ultimate destination. I found, though, that we needed to fly in/out of JFK for shorter flight, better schedule and to use ff miles. Our flight will cost us round trip to JFK - a fraction of the cost of RT to Italy.

You have time to accumulate sky miles, if possible I would. Our 2 tickets are paid with our Am Ex Delta ff miles. The moral: be flexible and creative.

Rent & watch travel videos - follow your heart.
The best gift you can give your wife - go where she wants to... you'll be glad! Good luck.